The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department mourns the passing of Columbia College alum Vincent Williams ’03, founder and president of the Black Theatre Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards, who died April 19, 2023. Williams, a graduate of the BA Program in Performing Arts Management from what is now the Columbia College Chicago Business and Entrepreneurship Department, founded the Black Theatre Alliance Awards in 1995 to honor African Americans who achieve excellence in theatre, dance, and all areas of the performing arts in the Chicagoland area. The awards also pay homage to Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), an African American actor famed for his performances in Shakespearean roles in Europe. Awards are presented in the categories of theatrical performance, playwriting, direction, and design.
A memorial service honoring Williams’ life will take place on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at Taylor Funeral Home, 63 E. 79th, in Chicago. The 10:30 AM wake will be followed by a service at 11 AM. Interment will follow at the Washington Memory Gardens Cemetery, 701 Ridge Road, in the Chicago suburb of Homewood. A GoFundMe has been established to help Williams’s family defray the costs of his funeral.